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Exams, Expectations and Achievement in Higher Music Education

When I started undergrad, all freshmen were required to take two placement exams. These exams determined what courses you were placed in for Music Theory and Ear Training. You had to do well on these exams to prove your worth as a musician. Looking back, I cannot honestly speak to where this need came. I do not know if it was the nature of our freshman class or the atmosphere of the school itself. It was just in the air. To gain the respect of my peers, and some of my professors, I felt as though I needed to place well on these exams. I truly believe this process sets students up for failure. In public elementary schools with gifted and advanced programs in elementary schools, educators have found that when you hold a subset of students to higher expectations they are more likely to succeed. When you hold the other group to lower expectations because they are not "gifted" or "advanced" they under perform. My mother taught me piano starting at age... read more

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